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01/15/13 01/15/13 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] >> from pacifica, this is "democracy now!" >> we are a task force. we have the equipment to respond on the ground. we have the means to fight in three dimensions. we're heavily equipped. >> the french bombing of mali continues as the and the states prepares to send drones or other surveillance aircraft to the west african nation. we'll go to bomb co for the latest. then, to vietnam. >> highly decorated veterans testified to war crimes
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committed in southeast asia. not isolated incidents, but crimes committed on a day-to-day basis with the full awareness of officers at all levels of command. >> as president obama nominates vietnam veterans john kerry and chuck hagel to cabinet posts, we will speak with nick turse, author of an explosive new book, "kill anything that moves: the real american war in vietnam." all of that and more coming up. this is "democracy now!,", the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. president obama is preparing to unveil a comprehensive plan to address gun violence that is expected to include legislation tightening background checks on potential gun buyers as well as 19 separate actions obama could take using executive power. at a news conference monday, obama confirmed he would support
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proposals for new assault weapons ban. he said a task force led by vice president joe biden had presented him with a list of " common sense" steps to prevent shootings like the one at sandy hook and elementary school. obama also alluded to potential resistance from opponents of gun control. >> part of the challenge we confront is even the sight -- slightest hint of some sensible responsible legislation in this area. it fans this notion that somehow, here it comes, and that everybody's guns are going to be taken away. it is unfortunate, but that is the case. if you look over the first four years of my administration, we tried to tighten up and for some of the laws already on the books, but it would be pretty hard to argue that somehow than owners have had their rights and
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fringe. >> the new poll shows support for gun control measures is on the rise. and abc news/washington post survey found 54% of americans are in favor of stricter gun control laws in general, the highest in five years. nearly 60% support it and on high-capacity ammunition clips. and it's the push for greater gun control, many across the country are reportedly rushing to buy guns and ammunition before any potential restrictions kick in. an analysis by an industry trade group found december set a record for the number of criminal background checks often conducted before gun sales, suggesting a massive spike in purchases. lawmakers in new york have reached an agreement with governor andrew cuomo to pass what is being held as the toughest gun control law in the united states and the first since the massacre in newtown. assembly members are expected to vote on the legislative package today after it has the new york senate late monday.
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the proposal would expand new york's ban on assault weapons and authorize law enforcement to confiscate guns from mental health patients if a professional reports -- if a professional reports they're likely to hurt themselves or others. on monday, a group of parents of newtown victims and surviving students unveiled a new initiative to tackle gun violence and mental illness in the u.s. two grieving parents as well as the group's co-founder described the sandy hook promise as an effort to spark a national conversation on how to prevent future tragedies. >> i do not want to be someone sharing my experience and consoling another parent next time. i do not want there to be a next time. the sandy hook promise is the start of our change. >> we need to face and take action on hard issues. there is not going to be one simple solution.
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but we feel is essential to get a deeper understanding of mental health in terms of research, education, and policy. >> when you look at what has been done in the past, it has not thought of as very far. we have to do something different. we believe a national discussion, putting aside preconceived notions will have us move forward as a nation. >> appearing with the sandy hook promise, connecticut senator chris murphy predicted a defeat of nra efforts to block the approval of a new assault weapons ban. >> his job to say no gun control and has congress, but they are wrong. they will see they are wrong as this president brings the full weight of his office to the house and senate and as republicans and democrats grievously have pledged to the nra start turning a different direction. i think today is an important day because it gives a clear forum for people across newtown, across the state, and across
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this nation and lecturer -- clear the status quo is not ok when it comes to the laws on guns in this country. >> new figures show u.s. military suicides broke another all-time record last year. 349 active duty soldiers took their own lives in 2012, far exceeding the number of u.s. troops killed in battle, according to the pentagon. the previous record of 310 suicides within army ranks was set in 2009. the figures do not include veterans no longer enlisted in the military. president obama has rolled out a new round of talks with republicans on raising the government's borrowing limit in return for cuts to government spending. the u.s. faces a new deadline of potentially defaulting on its debt next month unless the debt ceiling can be increased. republicans have maintained their stance that any borrowing hike must be offset by slashing government spending. add is what does this conference on monday, obama called the republican demand unacceptable. >> republicans in congress have
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two choices. they can act responsibly and pay america's bills, or they can act irresponsibly of america through another economic crisis. but they will not collect a ransom in exchange for not crashing the american economy. the financial well-being of the american people is not leveraged to be used. the full faith and credit of the u.s. is not a bargaining chip. >> the death toll from the syrian government airstrike on a northern town has reached at least 20 people in addition to around 100 wounded. the victims were gathered in the public market when syrian warplanes bombed them from the sky sunday. the group doctors without borders says the attacks followed earlier bombings of local health facilities, making it nearly impossible to adequately treat the victims. on monday, 151 people including 21 children were killed across syria according to the
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opposition group local coordination committees of syria. the israeli military has shot dead a palestinian teenager in the west bank. a classmate of the slain teen said soldiers opened fire on a group of students who were throwing stones to the separation barrier. doctors say the 17-year-old was shot three times. in egypt, at least 19 people are dead and more than 100 wounded after two railroad cars derailed south of cairo. state owned media said the train was carrying egyptian soldiers on their way to egypt's capital. the u.n.'s top human rights official is calling for an international probe of alleged crimes against humanity by the government of north korea. on monday, navi pillay, the high commissioner for human rights, said the probe should focus on north korea's notorious but secretive prison camps believed to hold up to 200,000 people in broken missions. a u.n. spokesperson said the
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international destination is long overdue. >> pretty much all we know is coming from refugees that have escaped from north korea. the picture they paint is really terrible. you're talking about a situation that has no parallel anywhere else in the world. the allegations of what is taking place, especially in the prison camp system, are of enormous gravity and could come in some cases, the crimes against humanity. but democratic senator ron wyden has asked cia nominee and white house counterterrorism adviser john brennan to explain the administration's legal basis for targeting u.s. citizens overseas. on monday, senator wyden released a letter to brennan ahead of brennan's confirmation hearings to head the cia. he wrote --
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brennan has reportedly overseen the obama administration's targeted assassination program known as the disposition matrix during his one ostend, and could likely continue that role at the helm of the cia. secretary of homeland security janet napolitano will remain in her post for obama's second term according to white house officials. napolitano's and who prefers to serve as arizona governor, has been criticized by immigrant rights advocates for presiding over a record number of deportations in the 2012 fiscal year. in a statement, a representative from the national day labor organizing network said -- the news napolitano's staying on comes as the obama administration is said to be preparing to unveil a new push
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for immigration reform in the coming months. federal prosecutors have dropped the charges against the computer programmer and cyber activist aaron swartz following his suicide on friday at the age of 26. in an e-mail to the boston globe, his attorney wrote the dismissal was "too little too late," saying it "would have been welcome this time last week." iran supports was facing up to 35 years in prison for sneaking into the massachusetts institute of technology and downloading millions of articles provided by the non-profit research service jstor. his family says prosecutors are partially to blame for his death. a petition on the white house website to remove u.s. attorney carmen ortiz from office over alleged overreach in the case has received more than 25,000 signatures, reaching the threshold needed to demand a response from the obama administration. tributes
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aaron for content and to flood the internet. academics have post links to pdf's of their own copyrighted work. the group anonymous hacked the mit website and posted a statement calling the prosecution "a grotesque miscarriage of justice, distorted and perverse shadow of the justice that aaron died fighting for." meanwhile, a lawyer who represented aaron swartz on hacking charges said he told federal prosecutors a year ago that swartz was a risk of suicide. attorney andrew good told the associated press -- about our monday show aaron swartz featuring his own speech and the commentary of his longtime friend and mentor harvard law professor larry lessig, you can go to our website at
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aaron swartz will be buried today in chicago. the indigenous led idle no more movement in canada has called a new global day of action for january 28 following a series of events on friday around the world. organizers say more than 130 actions were held in canada and worldwide in solidarity with idle no more's call for political transformation, indigenous rights, and environmental justice. a key figure in the movement, chief theresa spence, was due to meet with canadian prime minister stephen harper and other first nations leaders, but pulled out of the meeting over the exclusion of canada's governor general and in solidarity with friday's protests. spence remains a liquid diet only hunger strike. the chief executive of the tennessee-based company specializing in weapons training has had his gun permit revoked after posting a rant threatening violence should the federal government impose new gun control laws. in his post, james yeager of the
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firm tactical response vowed to "start killing people" if gun laws are passed. >> i am telling you if that happens, it will spark a civil war and i will be glad to fire the first shot. i am not putting up with it. you should not put up with it. i need all you patriots to think about what you're going to do. pack a backpack was some food, they're ready to fight. i'm not putting up with this. i'm not letting my country be ruled by a dictator. i am not letting anybody take my guns for the if it goes 1 inch further, i am going to start killing people critics in response, tennessee officials have suspended his weapons permit, citing the risk of public harm. those are some of the headlines. this is "democracy now!,", the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with aaron maté . >> welcome to all our listeners and viewers from around the country and around the world. we begin today's show and the west african nation of mali with the french military has entered the fifth day of a large military offensive.
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the campaign aims to oust rebels that have held much of the country's north since march -- an area larger than afghanistan. france crowley has 750 troops in mali, but that number is expected to soon triple. on monday, the and security council expressed support for french intervention in the former colony which reportedly came at the request of miley's government. this is the french u.n. ambassador. >> i think on wednesday or thursday, the terrorist armed groups have launched an offensive, have taken the city of konna. but this one moment, there were able to take bamako. we decided what was at stake was the existence of the state of mali and beyond mali was the stability of all west africa. so it is with determination, but also with reluctancere that we have decided that we had no other choice but to launch this
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military intervention. again, we conducted as long as it will be necessary. >> the u.s. has backed france. the l.a. times reports the obama administration is preparing to ferry hundreds of additional french troops to mali. in addition, u.s. officials said they're making plans to send drones or other surveillance aircraft. france is also calling on the force of 3300 west african troops to deploy in support of the malian army. the french strikes in mali reportedly have killed 11 civilians including three children fleeing the bombardment of a camp near the central town of konna. the an estimate says as many as 30,000 may have been displaced since fighting began last week. the international committee of the red cross. >> the situation is of concern.
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mass displacement has already been observed. casualties are reported as well. we're trying our best to address [indiscernible] internally displaced people have gathered, fling places such as konna. >> for more we're joined by several guests. we will begin with may ying welsh, a reporter for al jazeera who is in reporting from the northern region of mali. may ying welsh, welcome to "democracy now!" can you give as background and what is happening right now? >> i can. i think one of the things that has gotten lost in a lot of the talk about al qaeda and all of that is the way this conflict
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started. this conflict started with a movement of secular separatists who rose up and demanded an independent state and who started this week down the northern two-thirds of mali to take over the area which they consider theirs. they were shattered in this operation -- shadowed in this operation by others that had more religious views as well as al qaeda and some other actors. together, sort of in an alliance not of the willing, they took over the area. from that point on, a cut in the locals who allied with them took over the cities of northern mali from the tuareg separatists. the genesis of this whole conflict is the tuareg people of
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northern mali demanding a state, which is a very old demint which goes back to 1963 of the first tuareg rebellion. i think it also needs to be mentioned that france has very important economic interests, not necessarily in mali, but in neighboring northern niger. there is a uranium which area which is a tuareg area and shares the same tribe is going back and forth between the two, some of the same families even, and usually when you have a tuareg uprising in mali, it spreads to niger. we have one in niger, it spreads to mali because they're really all one people. in general, the tuareg have a national sense. i would compare them with the kurds. they consider themselves one
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people whether they are in the sahara of libya or in mali or niger. for them, it is just their homeland. france has a huge economic interest in northern niger. northern niger is one of the world's biggest reserves of uranium. france gets 75% of its electricity from nuclear power. as we know, france is a major exporter of nuclear power and it is a major component of france's military industrial entity. i mean, uranium, the uranium from nigeria, which is a former colony of france, it really was a key for france and its own development. they developed the nuclear industry on the back of that very cheap uranium coming from northern niger. by the way, niger is one of the
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bottom three poorest countries in the world according to the u.n. human rights -- human development index. i mean, it has one of the world's most important resources and yet it is one of the poorest. no. mali also has a large amount of uranium. the whole area has been divided up into exploration concessions, and there are a number of companies just waiting for the chance to get in there. also, gold and will bring. >> as we understand this background, i want to turn to a report al jazeera may ying welsh filed. she explains how al qaeda-linked groups managed to expel tuareg from their self-declared rule, suspending their plans for statehood. >> tuareg rebels trained to defend the new self-declared state. who could no in a few short days
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the would-be brownlee expelled from this base. or that their new president, only just appointed head of state, would be shot and evacuated from the country. al qaeda-backed rebels expelled separatist tuaregs from their main bases in northern mali, hoping to terminate their plans. now al qaeda and its allies are running the regent cities. as al jazeera left the city, fighters from the movement for unity and jihad in west africa were closing in, taking over the city gates and all traffic going out and coming in of gao. in timbuktu, a cut offshoots fully control the town. patrolling the city of islamic learning for all, adultery, and other violations of sharia law. here the fighters from nigeria and mauritania me go with those from across the area.
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and from their perch high above timbuktu, answer there will never ask them to leave. >> their brothers in al qaeda, our brothers in religion. they're here with us overseeing things in the same area we are working and our relationship with them is one of muslim. by what right could be expelled them? as a service to france or america? >> at this hideout in another northern town, tuareg rebels say andaeda are proxy's of mali algeria, utilized for years to isolate tuareg communities and prevent the appearance of a tuareg state. >> the main enemy of the mali government is the tuareg. this is the belief system upon which the malian state is based, that the primary interest -- enemy is the tuareg. since the birth of mali, mali
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had taken the lead just like the french colonialists and the tuareg as ours has never in fact and part of mali. >> tuareg rebels are scattered, trying to regroup. they don't have the logistics and high-tech care of their rivals or the hundreds of millions in cash that al qaeda has from hostage ransoms. what they have is a seemingly endless supply of young men ready to die for the cause. 50-year-old self-determination struggle of the stars indigenous people. >> that is may ying welsh's report from mali. she is a reporter for al jazeera english. we will go to a break. when we come back, the second part of that report as we go back to her in doha, qatar. this is "democracy now!,", the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. back in a moment. ♪ [music break]
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>> this is "democracy now!,", the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with aaron maté. >> let's turn to another report filed by may ying welsh over the summer from northern mali. she explains how the turmoil in timbuktu made it difficult to manage a severe food shortage. >> walking two days from the village to sell his sheep in timbuktu, he is exhausted and hungry and this animal is, too. no longer able to stand or walk, but it represents his only hope of earning money to buy food. main market, villagers hope to sell their animals before they die. hear, drought is wiping out animal herds and thousands of
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people who depend on them are going hungry. the worst year oft drought. the animals are starving. there is nothing for them to eat at all. >> he is barely awake. he wonders how he can survive. no one wants to buy an animal that is dying. in timbuktu town, only those too poor or too weak to lead remain. staples like rice have doubled in price. freshly slaughtered need festers in the sun. most people who had money to buy it have gone. >> who would pay for this? we cannot even find someone who has $2. many people have become criminals in the place the were born. th people of this city are afraid. there is no medicine. there is no water. there is nothing.
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>> at a timbuktu hospital, the impact of the drought in 60 crisis on families is clear. bags of [indiscernible] in a small team of doctors without borders wait. for the man in charge, it is painful to see his city this way. >> malnutrition is worsened because of many factors this year. there is insecurity, state services no longer insist, the drought, not enough rain. i hope the world will look at timbuktu because timbuktu is living a truly difficult moment today. >> it takes days to reach the city by car, and most aid agencies cannot take the risk. for now, timbuktu and its people face this crisis alone, isolated from the world. >> the report by may ying welsh,
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our guest speaking to us from the headquarters of al jazeera in doha, reporting in that piece from mali. may yi welsh, i want to ask about the role of the u.s. few people understand there's a heavy connection with libya in the current conflict in valley. can you talk about that? >> it is true that a lot of the fighters that started this whole conflict had recently come back from libya. the tuaregs have been rising up their governments in niger and mali for decades now. back in the 1980's, muammar gaddafi offered them a place in his army and military training camps. a lot of them when they're hoping it would be able to further their own cause. they ended up becoming part of his military. when he fell, they came back to mali and niger, some heavily armed and in a very desperate
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position. and they resumed their struggle which has been going on for decades. i think the fall of gaddafi in libya did act as a catalyst for the conflict we're seeing in mali. another aspect of u.s. involvement in mali, the u.s. government has been supplying mali and niger and other countries with counter- terrorism assistance. it is millions and millions of dollars every year in equipment and training and other ways in order to fight al qaeda and others in the area. i have talked to a lot of people in thwho have told me that the d the u.s. sent supposedly to fight al qaeda was actually diverted to fight the tuareg rebellion in the north, which is kind of continuously simmering and has never fully gone away.
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i hope when this whole conflict calms down a little bit, there will be a chance for people to really take a look at the mistakes that are made by the previous malian government and by its supporters in the united states and european union who really looked the other way on an unbelievable amount of corruption and misuse of the materials they were giving them, as well as -- there are serious allegations coming even from neighboring niger that the former president himself was involved in some kind of a deal with al qaeda and the islam's in which the massive hostage ransoms which were going or coming from european governments to ransom off the western hostages and get them free from al qaeda, it was done under the auspices of the malian presidency. one of the main negotiators is
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currently the head of [indiscernible] and a close political associate of the former president. now there are attacking kona and precipitated the crisis we see now with friends intervening. those are some questions we really need to ask. what was the role of the malian government including this crisis and how did it european union and the united states and a bullet? >> i want to bring in hannah armstrong, a bamako-based research fellow with the institute of current world affairs. you are on the ground in the capital of mallee, in bamako. what is happening there? >> there is an ounce of [indiscernible]
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[indiscernible] when the french talked about the was an exponential threats [indiscernible] could have easily wound up taking bamako. [indiscernible] >> if you could come closer to your computer, we're having a lot of trouble understanding you. >> is that better? but just keep talking. >> i was saying there are a lot is a lot of euphoria. [indiscernible] they did not have a lot of confidence in their own army to
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stand their ground. there were reports of soldiers fleeing. as counter intuitive it is for an ex african colony to be thrilled about the arrival of troops and tanks, a kentucky it is very much the case. bamako [indiscernible] >> may ying welsh, your response to what hannah armstrong is describing on the ground, euphoria in bamako with the french bombing of mali? >> i think france to some extent created mali by putting northern and southern mali together, and it takes france to keep them together. why is the malian army unable to control the north? why did so many of the tuareg and arab officers and soldiers
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who were leading the malian army in the north, why did so many of them the fact or disappear? -- defect or disappear? there is an issue with the malian army having a difficult time for it until the people of the north feel a little more invested in feel more like citizens in mali, until there is massive development in the north and real democracy as opposed to tokenism and in power in certain individuals and cronyism and corruption, instead of enabling drug smuggling and these kinds of forms of control in the populous and having a few beneficiaries, if they could have a real democracy and include the people in the north, maybe they would not have their arab and tuareg officers defecting and be unable to
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militarily control the north. the people of the north clearly do not feel all that invested in mali, and not as much as the bamako people of this out feel. they have to consider other forms of existence like autonomy or break up or something else. it is either democracy in real inclusion or mali is not headed into the direction as a unitary state. >> she mention the defection of malian forces and rebels. there's a piece yesterday reporting these forces were in fact trained by the hossein -- commanders of this evil army units defected when needed most, taking trips, guns, trucks and you found skills to their enemy in the heat of battle. going on to say, the american train officers overthrew mali's government setting the stage for more than half the country the fault in the hands of the extremists. your response?
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>> i think that is similar to what i just said. the nearly and government, because the people of the south -- it is the sahara. it is really different in the southern half of the country. the saharan area requires certain kinds of soldiers and abilities and certain kinds of equipment. it was natural for them to try to use the local people of the area to leave the army up there. that is the natural thing to do. like a said before, if you don't have a real democracy where there is investment on people and not just the military and not just in control and some drug smuggling routes, and giving kickbacks to theth president and his wife, i mean, if you are -- it is not going to give people real investment in the country then you can expect
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these kind of defections and expect every single tuareg to turn rubble tomorrow, which is what always happens. >> may ying welsh, thank you for being with us, reporter for al jazeera english, recently filed an exclusive report from inside mali's northern region, which we will have a link to online. her most recent piece is making sense of malaise's armed groups, working on a documentary about mali, speaking to us from doha, qatar, the headquarters of al jazeera and al jazeera english. i want to thank hannah armstrong, although we had trouble understanding her, from the capital of mali, bamako. when we come back, we will be talking about vietnam, the heads of the foreign-policy establishment that had been nominated by president obama, chuck hagel to head defense and john kerry to become secretary
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of state, both fought in vietnam. we will look at vietnam and talk to the author of an explosive new book. stay with us. ♪ [music break]
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>> this is "democracy now!,", the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with aaron maté. >> we are less than a week away from president obama second term inauguration. to the leading figures nominated dead the foreign policy establishment have their political roots in the vietnam war. chuck hagel, tapped by president obama to the secretary of defense, is a former army sergeant. if confirmed, will become the first vietnam war veteran to head the pentagon. obama's secretary of state nominee, john kerry, became one of the most prominent veterans
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to oppose the vietnam war after his return. testifying before the senate in 1971. he discussed the atrocities under it in winter soldier investigation, where over 150 veterans testified to war crimes committed in southeast asia. >> they told the stories at times that they personally raped, cut off ears, cut off heads, taped wires from portable televisions to human genitals and turned up the power, cut off limbs, blown up bodies, randomly shot at civilians, razed villages in fashion reminiscent of ghengis khan, shot cattle and dogs for fun, poisoned food stocks and generally ravaged the countryside of south vietnam, in addition to the normal ravage of war in the normal and very particular ravaging which is done by the applied bombing power of this country.
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>> that is john kerry testifying in 1971 after he returned from vietnam. although the vietnam war is far behind them, kerry and hagel will have to contend with the raw longest running war in history, afghanistan. -- with the longest-running war in history, afghanistan. it is not clear how the new timetable will change things. speaking on monday after meetings with president obama, afghan president karzai said afghanistan would be better off without foreign troops. >> the main question is that whether by the withdrawal of foreign troops from afghanistan will the situation become insecure. by no means for it is the other way around rid afghanistan will be to secure a better place. we should remove this idea from our mind that if there are no foreign troops in our country
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will not be able to protect the country. that is wrong. >> we're joined now by author and journalist nick turse, managing editor of british his most recent book is, "kill anything that moves: the real american war in vietnam." the title is taken from an order given to the u.s. forces who slaughtered more than 500 vietnamese civilians in the notorious my lai massacre of 1968. but drawing on interviews in vietnam and a trove of previously unknown u.s. government documents, including internal military investigations of alleged war crimes in i vietnam, nick turse argues that u.s. atrocities in vietnam were not just isolated incidents, but the inevitable outcome of deliberate policies, dictated the highest levels of the military. nick turse's other books include "the case for withdrawal from afghanistan" and "the complex." welcome to "democracy now!"
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the foreign-policy establishment, if confirmed john kerry and chuck hagel, both fought in vietnam. when john kerry came home, he famously talked about the atrocities that were going on in vietnam. so it is decades later, there have been tens of thousands of books written about vietnam, why did you choose to go there as well and write this book? >> as you said, there have been 30,000 books or so written on the war, but none i found naturally addressed what i believe this is signature aspect of the war, which is vietnamese civilian suffering. this is not just atrocities, the type of things we've heard john kerry talking about, but also the systematic use of heavy firepower in the countryside. also unrestrained bombing, the use of helicopter gunships, artillery fire that they called harassment interdiction fire, which is just blanketing the
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countryside with heavy artillery. this is for people lived and worked and a tremendous amount of the news people died. >> let's go to the my lai massacre that took place in 1968 and march 16, but wasn't until a november 12, 1969 that the world found out about one investigative journalist seymour hersh broke the story about the massacre and its cover-up. he was awarded the pulitzer prize. "democracy now!" spoke to him on the 40th anniversary of the massacre about what happened. >> the analogy with iraq is pretty acute, basically, a group of soldiers that landed. they were mostly uneducated, as the graduates and dropouts who were told they were fighting communism and to save america. they spent 10 or 11 weeks in vietnam, humping it in the boonies in the villages and paddies of south vietnam and never saw the enemy. maybe they lost 15% or 20% of their companies through land
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mines, snipers, etc., but never engaged. and between the time they landed around the year's day until march 16, they became increasingly brutal, randomly going to a village and walking people. sometimes there would just hit an all men and no one says anything. what happens when you do not see organized enemy and you lose your buddies and you are angry, you take it out on the villagers, the civilian population. >> that was sy hersh speaking about the my lai massacre. in your book, nick turse, the talk about the testimony of soldiers who spoke of my lai each month for a year and saying these types of atrocities were carried out by every single unit that was deployed in vietnam. can you talk about what you found in the u.s. government archives that speak to this level of killing that you're
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discussing in your book? >> sure. when i was a graduate student i found these records. they had been sitting in the national archives for years, but no one had worked with them read it was a secret pentagon task force that was set up in the wake of the my lai massacre to make sure the army was never caught flatfooted again by an atrocity scandal. this was run out of the office of william moreland, at the time, chief of staff. he had been u.s. commander in vietnam, so he a real stake in finding out what atrocity allegations might bubble up, and in tamping down whenever possible. this working group put together records of hundreds and hundreds of horrific atrocities. we're talking about massacres, murder, assault, rape, torture. it was really, to call it a treasure trove of records is the wrong phrase. it was a horror trove.
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when i lifted this, i realized these records were not in the ledger anywhere and i saw it showed a systematic use of atrocities throughout the countryside. these were atrocities committed by every u.s. dollar-major u.s. army unit involved in the conflict. >> let's turn to a 1974 american documentary film about the bnl more called "hearts and minds" directed by peter davis. in this clip, general william westmoreland, the former commander of the american military operations in the vietnam war, reveals his views about the vietnamese people. >> the oriental does not put the same high price on life as does a westerner. life is plentiful, life is cheap and the orient. -- in the orient. as the philosophy of the orient
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express is it, life is not important. >> that is general william westmoreland nick turse? >> the filmmaker peter davis, i asked him that question a number of times to make sure westmoreland was expressing his views. this is exactly what he meant to say. this was the type of mindset that suffused the military at the time. there was an acronym used, ngr -- mgr, the mere gook rule. this is what the u.s. military was steep and at the time. that they were not real people, that there were said human, mere gooks, used or abused and it will put >> there were soldiers at the time, not just john kerry, who were trying to
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publicly reveal the atrocities that were taking place. you mention this vietnam war crimes working group and in your book you talked about taking these secret documents that had not been released before, taking them to the veterans who had tried to speak out way back then print one is jimmy hendry. >> the records i found of his case really stuck with me. i knew i had to find this man. there were several phone book- sized files for it a major investigation was done. jamie was a reluctant draftee as a medic. he saved a lot of american lives. once he got over there, he saw things that really disturbed him. on this first day in the field, he watched as the point man, the lead man of his patrol, stopped a young girl on the trail and molested her he said to myself,
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my god, what is going on he? he saw things that disturbs him. a young boy was captured and beaten up and executed. an old woman who was shot down, a man used for target practice, a prisoner who was beaten and thrown off a cliff. on and on he saw these things. that culminated one day on february 8, 1968, about a month before the my lai massacre, while they're in the villages officer gave the order to kill anything that moves. jamie heard this over the radio and set out to go to the scene to try to stop it. the rich 20 women and children who are rounded up . by the roundedjamie got there, the man opened up with their automatic rifles and killed them ofall. jamie told me he saw this and 30 seconds later vdsed he would get the story out no matter what it took. life had been
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threatening vietnam, so he kept his mouth shut. >> told he would have a bullet in his back. >> he was warned the first time he spoke out about brutality that he'd better watch himself and his friends came up after in said, it is so easy to be killed in a firefight, to be looked -- to make it look like your killed by the enemy, so you better shut up. but once it got back he met with an army lawyer. this guy said, look, there is a million ways the army can mickey disappear. he spoke and said that he was threatened. he asked for advice and they told to get political backing. he wrote to congressman but nobody brought him back. he went public. he spoke out at the winter soldier investigation. among other public forums published on the radio, published an article, had a press conference but could not
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get any traction. years later he gave up. what he did not know was the army had conducted a very thorough investigation, interviewed all the other members of hisnit. the car robbery what he said an even painted a more chilling picture because some saw picture becausejamie hadn't. jenny did not know until i called him up and knocked on his door and brought the investigation file. >> where was he? >> in northern california. he just never knew these records existed, that anyone knew he was telling the truth. >> so when you brought him the phone book-sized investigations into his allegations, what did he do? >> he was shocked. he did feel vindicated. there was a little trepidation because it was a lot of years letter to dredges up.
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he was a little scared, but he told me if it was right back then, then it was right to expose now. it was not easy on him. after the first day as spent talking with him and going through the records, he tell me that night after i left that he went and sat in his easy chair and shook uncontrollably for an hour. he said, i had some sort of stress reaction. but he thought about it, spoke to his wife and said it was important to go on the record again and make sure the people knew this is really what happened in vietnam. >> and you wonder where so many cases of posttraumatic stress disorder come from, that everything you learned is wrong in this country when you're growing up you then either commit -- see others, were forced to cover or choose not to cover-up. today in our headlines, we just read this year, the worst year
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for suicides almost one a day, and that is just active-duty soldiers right now in the wars now. that is that even include the record number of veterans who kill themselves. >> that is right. one thing also to keep in mind about the vietnam-era veterans like jamie, this was largely draughty army -- draftee army. these are mostly teenage boys, 18, 19, 20 years old. today, some of these soldiers are a little older. anothere also written book called "the case for withdraw from afghanistan." what is that case? can you talk about having kerry and hagel now heading u.s. foreign policy, which is overseeing the longest war in u.s. history?
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>> if confirmed to. >> yes, if confirmed. >> i guess there are reasons to be hopeful. these men have seen combat. john kerry did speak out one time, seemed like he began backing away from that almost immediately and by the time he made his presidential run in 2004, he really would not address the topic in any serious way. i think they at least bring a realization of what war is about. that hagel -- i don't know he is ever been completely honest about what he has seen. if you read the accounts as his brother who served in the same unit as him during the war -- >> which is very unusual. >> but his brother paints a very brutal picture of the war, similar to the one that i talked about in "kill anything that
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moves." this served under one of the most notorious commanders in vietnam, julian you'll -- ewell, also known as the butcher of macon county del. they called him a body count fanatic. he demanded vietnamese bodies. he was not very discerning about who they belong to. he was called -- anyone call them as a casualty was called an enemy dead. just as the hagel brothers relating, there was an operation kicked off colorado "speedy express." it lead to 11,000 vietnamese casualties, but only resulted around 750 weapons been recovered some news reporters looked into this a couple of years after it ended and him up with an estimate of 5000
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civilians killed during that operation. when i went to the archives, i found military zones or reports that the new st. reporters did not know about in the estimates were that they show the newsweek estimates were low. they estimated about 7000 casualties. this is the type of for that check tables all down there and john three operated in roughly the same area down the delta. so they do know something about the brutality of war. >> nick turse, his book is, "kill anything that moves: the real american war in vietnam." this is "democracy now!,", the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. i want to let people know of to the upcoming "democracy now!" specials. on monday, we will be covering the inauguration from 8:00-1:00. we will be in washington, d.c. from tuesday to friday, the sundance film festival, the 10th
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anniversary of the documentary track of that festival, speaking with documentary filmmakers, covering issues domestic and abroad. democracy now! is looking for feedback from people who appreciate the closed captioning. e-mail your comments to outreach@democracynow. craig said this is "t >> this is democracy now, as we turn to the untold history of the united states. oliver stone has taken on three presidents in his films jfk, nixon and w. oliver stone is a vietnam war veteran. he was decorated with a bronze star and a purple heart. he has tackled the most difficult aspects

Democracy Now
LINKTV January 15, 2013 3:00pm-4:00pm PST

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TOPIC FREQUENCY Vietnam 27, U.s. 22, France 13, John Kerry 9, Mali 8, Timbuktu 8, Afghanistan 8, Obama 7, Bamako 7, Nick Turse 6, Amy Goodman 6, U.n. 4, Aaron Swartz 4, America 4, Us 4, Obama Administration 4, Libya 4, Hagel 4, Chuck Hagel 4, New York 3
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